Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland returned to Pittsburgh late last week after spending most of the past two months playing in for Rosenborg IHK Elite in Norway's Get Ligaen. In 11 games, Engelland scored nine point and accumulated 43 penalty minutes.
Earlier today, Engelland spoke about his experiences in Norway on and off the ice.
What was it like playing in Norway?
"It was a good experience. Obviously, it’s not where you want to play but getting in a game was nice. It was good for the two months we were there. The city, the organization set us up nicely. It was a lot of fun."
What was the biggest adjustment on the ice?
"The bigger the ice. The timing of everything. The hitting. Getting from one side to the other. Here, it’s one or two strides. There, it’s five or six. If it’s a cross-ice pass and you’re trying to get to your (defensive) partner, it’s a long ways to get there. That was probably the hardest adjustment at first. Even just in practice. The size of the ice was the biggest adjustment for me."
Is the Get Ligaen as physical is the NHL?
"No, it’s not. I hate to say it, but the (refereeing) over there is … pretty bad. I don’t know if they don’t want physicality over there but there’s a lot of hits which are clean as be. I got kicked out of a game for an open-ice hit. It seemed liked if you hit the guy too hard or made too loud of a noise, you were going to get a penalty for something, even if they didn’t see it."
Was communication on the ice an issue at all?
"No. Actually everyone in Norway spoke English. It made it a lot easier for my wife especially. Everyone spoke really good English which made it a lot easier."
What was life like off the ice?
"Very, very simple. The life style there seemed to me real good. Real clean. They had a lot of regulations for food and stuff like that. Everyone walks everywhere. It’s more expensive but minimum wage, I think if you calculate it out, is like $25 an hour. They get free health care. It didn’t seem to matter how much you made. Everyone is ‘even’ now matter who you are. It was kind of nice. Refreshing. Where, you come over here, a lot of things are about what you have. It gave us a different outlook on life."
What was the biggest benefit you got out of playing there?
"I played in a lot different situations. I played some power play. Everything. By the end, it was every other shift. I was playing a lot. Just to get into the game was the biggest thing. The team we were on, they were trying to build up their youth and we had a lot of young guys on the team. Just to help those guys out and help them with the game, I kind of took that upon myself to help those guys out. The playing time, playing power play and more minute, was an extra bonus."
(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)